DENVER -- Tom Murphy arrived at Coors Field on Thursday with Opening Day jitters.Activated from the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hairline fracture in his right forearm near the onset of Spring Training, the platoon backstop started and batted eighth Thursday against the Giants."Being called up in September the
DENVER -- Tom Murphy arrived at Coors Field on Thursday with Opening Day jitters.
Activated from the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hairline fracture in his right forearm near the onset of Spring Training, the platoon backstop started and batted eighth Thursday against the Giants.
"Being called up in September the last two years, in a different situation, this is going to be the first reality where it feels like Opening Day," Murphy, 26, said. "I'm just very excited."
Considered by some teammates the club's strongest player, Murphy maintained immaculate shape during his three-month hiatus. A silver lining to his absence was that it allowed him to hone the extensive offseason training the club had assigned Murphy -- a two-time September callup -- in preparation to make a full leap to the big league club for 2017.
Specifically, the club sought improved balance and footwork from Murphy, which wasn't inhibited by his cast. Murphy, ranked the No. 7 catcher prospect by MLBPipeline.com, had largely established his Minor League value on power, but spent last winter and Spring Training working closely with first-year bench coach Mike Redmond, who oversees catchers.
"I know that he made some changes to his body composition as well to allow him to be a little bit more flexible, have a little bit more mobility, to be able to do some of the things that we've talked about," manager Bud Black said.
"I think right now is the best catching I've ever had in my career," Murphy said. "It speaks to the coaching and everything else and studying and watching the best in the game do what they do now."
In 88 MLB plate appearances, Murphy hit .266/.341/.608 with eight homers, 22 RBIs, 29 strikeouts and eight walks. He went 12-for-29 (.414) with a homer, triple, four doubles and six runs scored during a seven-game rehab stint for Triple-A Albuquerque.
In a corresponding move, catcher Ryan Hanigan was optioned to Albuquerque. Hanigan, 36, signed a Minor League deal just ahead of Opening Day to add experience aiding the young Rockies' pitching staff and slashed .256/.304/.395 in 46 plate appearances.
Gray to piggyback Anderson in rehab start
Opening Day starter Jon Gray will make his second rehab start Monday for Albuquerque in Sacramento in what he anticipates will be a six-inning, 75 to 80 pitch threshold.
The righty threw four scoreless innings Wednesday for Class A Advanced Lancaster and said he didn't have any movement limitations while fielding infield grounders -- the act in which he suffered a navicular stress fracture in his left foot April 13.
"When I reacted to the ball hit to the right side, I didn't even like try to stop myself at all, but then again, I got over there and I was like, 'Oh, wow,'" Gray said. "I didn't even notice it. That's a really good sign."
Left-hander Tyler Anderson, on the DL retroactive to June 1 with left knee inflammation, will precede Gray with his first rehab start for Albuquerque on Sunday.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.